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Topics - Thad

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7
Real Life / MOVED: !$@* the Comics Code
« on: January 06, 2014, 05:23:30 PM »

Media / I Don't Think We Have a Superman Thread Yet
« on: December 22, 2013, 05:40:09 PM »
Man of Steel is a Superman movie for people who hate Superman.

Media / MOVED: Top Ten Best Single Player Video Games
« on: October 27, 2013, 06:40:51 AM »

Hey guys I made you a thread about Paula Deen on the Media board so you can stop talking about Paula Deen in two different threads on this one.

This topic has been moved to Media.

Real Life / MOVED: A Hot Dense State
« on: May 10, 2013, 03:18:48 PM »

Thaddeus Boyd's Panel of Death / Prenda Law
« on: March 07, 2013, 11:16:22 AM » have you guys been paying attention to the Prenda Law case?  Because it's pretty amazing.

Prenda Law is one of those copyright trolls that sends people threatening letters alleging that they've illegally downloaded porn.  The idea is that people would rather pay a settlement than be a named defendant associated with downloading porn.

It's extortion.  Which is bad, and was bound to catch up with Prenda sooner or later.

But that's actually the tip of the iceberg.  Popehat has an exhaustive rundown, but the highlights are that Prenda Law is most likely run by people who own the rights to the porn videos in question and who have not disclosed that interest, and also they appear to have stolen a guy's identity and named him as their CEO.  (He's suing them.)  The lawyer who's been representing them in court appears to be distancing himself from the organization now and blaming his bosses for everything; the judge seems righteously pissed and has dropped the word "incarceration" into his list of potential sanctions.

A followup post indicates that the company's entire business strategy appears to be to buy up cheap rights to porn movies that are cheap because they're frequently pirated, and then pursue pirates, ostensibly to reduce piracy and increase the value of their investments.

I am very much looking forward to seeing this organization dismembered and its corpse hung out as warning for all the other copyright trolls and would-be copyright trolls to see.  Some prison time for the principals would be a bonus.

Gaming Discussion / Dragon Quest VII
« on: February 13, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »
Dragon Quest VII Import Hands-On Preview

Dammit, I do not have 80 hours of my life to play through DQ7 a third time.

But it's just so, so pretty.

Maybe when/if it gets released Stateside I'll have a job and a 3DS.  And even less free time.

But really, DQ7 running on the DQ9 engine?  Strongly approve.  Not only is it gorgeous, but I love 9's approach to random encounters.

Plus, per Parish's video, above, they've shaved off the opening sequence (I'm ambivalent about it as it was a good bit of story pacing but not a good bit of gameplay pacing, but I don't suppose I'll miss it) and made the map pieces easier to find.  Sounds like SE's got a pretty good idea of what needs tweaking.

Wonder if they'll rerelease any other old games like this.  It seems like they just did 4-6, but I'd be interested in seeing if they could use this template for 1-3.  (Or even 8, though if they were to remake that I suspect they'd build it on the Wii/U engine for DQ10.)

Thaddeus Boyd's Panel of Death / MOVED: Contempt
« on: February 07, 2013, 05:51:57 PM »
Yeeeeeeah, moving whole thread now.

When I named the split "Contempt", I didn't mean it as a suggestion.

This topic has been moved to Guild Hall.

Assorted Creations / Thad's Audiobooks
« on: January 28, 2013, 11:13:45 PM »
EDIT: Figure I oughta add this right at the top:
Here are links to listings of all my audiobooks:

Typically Amazon has the best price.


So, as you may have figured out from the not-terribly-subtle hints I've been dropping for the past month: I narrate audiobooks now.  Audiobooks are cool.

My first one, Dinosaurs in the Home Depot, written by Bret Wellman, is now available on Audible ($6.95 at the time of this writing) and Amazon ($6.08).  Both URLs contain the string "B00B", which pleases me.  Also, it's supposed to be showing up on iTunes sometime soon; I'll add a link when I've got one.  (If you see it before I update the post, feel free to share with the class.) UPDATE: Available on iTunes; $6.95 as of this posting.

The audiobook is 18 minutes long and delivers what it promises.  There is a Home Depot.  There are dinosaurs in it.  The story does not waste time on details like why there are dinosaurs, why somebody decided to leave them in a Home Depot, or actually bothering to give any of the characters names (unless you count "the ugly giant" as a name).  It's mostly people fighting dinosaurs with power tools.

If you would like to read the story before you decide whether it is worth six of your hard-earned dollars, you can read it in its entirety for free on the author's website.  If you would like to know what it sounds like coming through these beautiful baritone pipes of mine, well, there's supposed to be a three-minute preview if you click the "Sample" button on that Audible page but it doesn't seem to be working for me just at the moment.  If you can't get it to work either, you can try it on my ACX profile page.

EDIT: Or just listen right here:
Audiobook Sample: Dinosaurs in the Home Depot


So what is this thing, anyway?

I became aware of Amazon/Audible's ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) about a year ago when Neil Gaiman started talking about it on his blog.  It follows a simple premise: audiobooks don't need to be a rarity anymore now that you no longer have to carry around a binder full of tapes or CD's to listen to one and are in fact probably carrying a device that can play them in your pocket right now.

So, ACX -- anyone who's got a book can advertise it and look for a narrator; anyone who wants to narrate a book can audition and look for a book.



Yes.  Audible uses DRM.  My opinions on DRM have not changed since yesterday, so obviously if you do not want to buy my audiobooks because they have an inconvenient copy protection mechanism on them, I can understand that.

I haven't played around with it much; the only Audible download I've gotten to date is Go the Fuck to Sleep.  I remember it being mildly inconvenient to set up the codec, and I think I had to listen to it in Windows Media Player.  If anybody has a fresher memory of the user experience, feel free to share.

You shouldn't have much trouble getting it to play on a Windows/Mac/iOS/Android/Windows Phone/Blackberry device.  I'm guessing it's a bit more inconvenient under desktop Linux, but probably not much; there are tools for stripping the DRM off if you want to look for them but it's probably best we not link any from here.

If all else fails, there's always the old "burn it to a CD and then rip it from the CD" trick.  Yeah, DRM doesn't fucking work.


What's this paying you?

Probably a bit gauche to talk about, but for the curious and since this is all public information anyway:

All the books I've recorded so far have been done on a royalty basis.  I haven't made anything from them yet, and won't until people start buying them.  Yes, that kinda sucks.  (Here are two blog posts about me trying to explain royalties to the unemployment agency.  Spent some more quality time on the phone with them today.  Still have not convinced them that I did not earn any money the week of January 5.)

My royalty share depends on a sliding scale.  At present, for every copy sold, Amazon takes 50%, the author gets 25%, and I get 25%.  The more it sells, the less Amazon takes and the more we get.  If Dinosaurs in the Home Depot becomes some kind of runaway smash hit, those numbers can slide as far as 10/45/45.

Also, if it's one of your first three downloads from Audible, the author and I each get a $12.50 bonus.  (That's right: you spend $6, Amazon pays me $14.)



These are work-for-hire deals.  I get royalties but I don't have any ownership of the work.  The three I've done so far are all owned by their respective authors.



Yeah, I've recorded two more so far: Your Average Ordinary Alien, written by Adam Graham, and Dinner on a Flying Saucer, by Dean Wesley Smith.  They should be available in the coming weeks.  They're both short stories, though they're a little bit longer than this one.  I'll talk more about them once they're available; for now you can listen to samples on my profile page.



This is the first thing I've written to promote my ACX work, but I'm planning on a blog post, of course, will probably put some links up on my LinkedIn profile, maybe put the samples up on YouTube.  I've also got a second website that's more oriented toward professional projects than saying "fuck" and reposting Frank Zappa videos, so I intend to put some links up there too.  If this looks like something where I can actually attract a fanbase, I might start fucking around with Facebook and Twitter, but that's not a priority at the moment.


Thaddeus R R Boyd?

Yeah, I figured what the hell, name like mine, no sense NOT being pretentious with my credit.  Besides, all my favorite fantasy novels are written by guys with those middle initials.  (Also besides: it was already the name on my Amazon account.  But mostly it's the pretension.)


Guess that's it for now.  If you want to check this thing out, buy it, review it, that'd be swell.  If not, well, that's cool too.  But if you read all the way down here, I think we both know that means you like listening to me talk for eighteen minutes.

Gaming Discussion / Wii Troubleshooting
« on: December 19, 2012, 09:43:56 PM »
So my Wii has started automatically ejecting some (not all) the games I put in it.  I suspect the lens needs cleaning.

Am I correct in understanding that a standard lens-cleaning disc will not work because the Wii has no CD player capabilities, and I'm going to have to spend $15 on a Wii lens cleaning kit, or does anybody have a better idea?

Real Life / Banned Books Week
« on: October 02, 2012, 11:02:45 AM »
Happy Banned Books Week!

Here's a list of reasons books have been challenged and banned.  Often they are hilarious!  Did you know 1984 promotes communism and To Kill a Mockingbird promotes white supremacy?  I didn't, because I have read 1984 and To Kill a Mockingbird!

Thaddeus Boyd's Panel of Death / MOVED: Magic Underwear
« on: September 28, 2012, 09:34:22 PM »

Real Life / Droid Does what Nintendon't
« on: September 06, 2012, 07:52:26 AM »
Welp, decided to take TA up on his offer and buy his old EVO 4G.  (Thanks TA!)  So I am joining the twenty-first century and will soon be carrying a tiny computer in my pocket that will have roughly the power of that Pentium 3 I got right before college.

So now I'm looking at things I need to ensure an enjoyable Android experience.  Brent already named SNESoid, and Ziiro mentioned Swype; these will probably be among the first things I install.  Stross just threw out a good app list too (Spartacus IDE and the Rhythm File Manager both sound like good picks), and of course there's every "essential apps" list on the Internet.  Maybe I will finally find out just what exactly it is that made those birds so angry.

Syncing is an issue.  At present I've got a primary desktop, a relatively-seldom-used laptop, an HTPC, and a work computer.  I'd like to be able to get a good password wallet going, keep my litany of secure passwords stored under one secure password.  And I suppose discussing specific apps for this does itself raise security issues as giving a list of ways I might store my passwords creates a smaller list of targets, but I've always found that robust, well-understood security methods are much better than security through obscurity anyway.

On Web passwords: well, there's Firefox Sync.  It comes with the advantage that the data is encrypted client-side, so even though it's stored in the cloud it's gibberish without a private key.

That said, the private key is effectively just one more password (albeit a secure one), and if I ever lose my phone it's a question of (1) how quickly I notice my phone is gone and (2) how quickly I can get to another computer with the key stored on it and change my password and then all my other passwords.  Which, granted, is a set of problems I will probably have if I lose my phone no matter WHAT locker's running on it.

I've also heard some good things about Roboform, which seems to be more fully-featured and less browser-specific.

There's also the potentially-more-secure possibility of not syncing this shit in the cloud at all and just running a different, discrete password locker on each of my devices (really just primarily desktop and phone).  This would be more tedious and time-consuming and introduce an additional potential point of failure, but on the other hand I'm a lot less worried about someone stealing my desktop than my phone, and if a service like Sync or Roboform was compromised and my master password changed I'd still have a way to access my password list.  And if I ever needed a login on another computer, I could just whip out my phone and type out whichever pass I needed.

Any site that'll offer two-factor authentication I'll probably opt into, though if it's done by text that of course brings us back to the question of what if I lose my phone.  (And does it really count as two-factor if my stored passwords are on the same device I receive texts on?)

Not that I'm losing phones all the time or anything; so far the only times I've ever misplaced my phone it's turned up in either the couch or my car.  And that's a shitty little free just-a-phone phone; I find it hard to believe I'd be any more careless with an IMPORTANT phone.  But, you know, just planning for failure conditions here.

As far as other stuff to sync: well, I suppose mainly it'd be mail and RSS.

I don't really use Gmail, and don't need to add it; all my various and sundry mail accounts support IMAP.  (That said, is there a good mail app anyone can recommend?  Hell, what about for desktop Linux while I'm on the subject?  I've been using Thunderbird for a decade but it's no longer under active development; it Does What I Need It To but I'm keeping an eye out for clients that aren't feature-frozen-forever.)  Guess that means I'll probably want a password wallet that supports a standalone mail app, not just my browser.

RSS -- guess I'll probably just go with Google Reader, unless anyone knows of any better solution.  I don't much care for the Web interface; does anyone know of a good frontend that'll sync with it?  (Or with anything else?)  That goes for desktop Linux too.  And I realize there's a good possibility that I'll wind up parking my RSS and my E-Mail in the same client.

My main objection to Gmail and Google Reader is probably Google itself.  Google presents a bit of a conundrum in that it's got robust security options and some real versatility in the way of features, but (1) it's a huge target (again, insofar as "security through obscurity" is a valid argument, which it only sort-of is) and (2) Google collects data from everybody, everywhere, all the time and is itself one of the major privacy threats in this modern world.  I can probably safely bite the bullet and start using Google Reader since it's not exactly a secret what blogs I read anyway, but I don't want to be tethered to Google for everything I do, even if I am running Google's OS and browser.

Other stuff?  Emulators (NES, Genesis)?  What other neat and/or useful shit should I put on this thing now that I'll be carrying a little Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy around in my pocket?

Also: Any good utilities for transferring contacts from one phone to another?  I'm guessing Sprint's probably willing to do that for me and may not charge for it, but if there's a handy Bluetooth-based address book utility I can use instead, that would come with the advantage of doing it myself (and having a backup on my desktop in case my phone ever got lost or fried).

Real Life / Criminal Masterminds
« on: August 31, 2012, 11:37:08 AM »
Man steals MacBook Pro, helpfully immediately uses it to try to sell his car on Craigslist, including photos of same parked in his driveway.

The driveway of the house where he, also helpfully, leaves two forms of ID and a set of jail bands next to his weed.

Media / Gravity Falls
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:48:12 AM »
So Gravity Falls appears to be the latest in the Adventure Time/My Little Pony trend of batshit-crazy comedy ostensibly for children that makes adults laugh too.

I've watched the first couple and they are pretty great.

Thaddeus Boyd's Panel of Death / MOVED: SNOOP LION
« on: August 01, 2012, 09:34:18 AM »

Media / The Dark Knight Rises Spoiler Thread
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:06:29 PM »
This is a thread for Dark Knight Rises spoilers.

Please keep your Dark Knight Rises spoilers in this thread and not the several other threads about Batman.


Gaming Discussion / Xbox 360 101
« on: June 20, 2012, 07:40:25 AM »
Well, fiancee bought a new computer on one of those student deals where it comes with a 4GB Xbox.

So, a few things:

1. It's the 4GB model.
2. I can't really see my way to budgeting a Live subscription right now.
3. My PC is a better gaming machine.
4. My other PC is a better media machine.

So I COULD sell the sucker.  But I figure what the hell, I can still see my way toward squeezing some enjoyment out of this thing.

There are a handful of games out on Xbox that were never released for PC that I'd like to check out.  Crackdown and Red Dead Redemption, off the top of my head.  And maybe Final Fantasy 13?  Should I bother?

So, okay.  As the thread name implies, you might want to steer clear of this thread if you haven't read all five books.

Or if you have read all five books but there are still things you don't want spoiled.

Like, say, if you haven't worked out who Jon Snow's mother is yet and would rather I didn't spell it out for you.

Because Jon Snow is where I'm starting.

First of all: He's not dead.

Dance makes a point of reminding us, at least twice, that you can't kill skinchangers easily -- first in the opening "Meet the Cannon Fodder" chapter, and later when Jon considers the possibility that Bran's mind is still alive in Summer.

But I think that's a red herring; I think Jon's still alive in his own body.

Because Melisandre needs him.

So okay, on to Jon's parentage, which I think is pretty widely accepted but I'll give it in brief so's we're all on the same page:

Jon isn't Ned Stark's son at all.  He's his nephew.  More specifically, he's the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

That much is pretty heavily hinted in the first book, during Ned's time in the dungeon just prior to his execution.  What becomes clearer as the series goes on and we hear more about Rhaegar is that, contrary to Robert Baratheon's Angry Drunken Exposition, there was no rape.  Every single person who actually KNEW Rhaegar has described a man for whom rape would be totally out-of-character -- as out-of-character as Ned cheating on his wife.

(There IS, of course, a Stark who fucks everything up by dishonoring his betrothal, which means Ned DOES have a son who turns out to be quite similar to Rhaegar.)

So Lyanna, with her dying breath, makes Ned promise to protect her baby -- and given Robert Baratheon's "Kill all Targaryens, children or no" attitude, it's pretty clear why Ned would pretend Jon was his own natural son.  Characteristically, the only thing Ned is willing to sacrifice his honor for is the safety of his family.

The only other survivor of the Tower of Joy is Howland Reed, which is why Jojen and Meera know the truth and have hinted at it to Bran.

But I suspect Melisandre knows too, because the irony is just too good to pass up.  I imagine she must be very amused at Jon's machinations, switching the babies, getting Maester Aemon the fuck out of Dodge, all for naught because he has no idea that HE HIMSELF is the king's son she's really after.

So yeah, that's the narrative reason Jon is safe: this has been building longer than any other mystery in the books, and it needs a payoff more satisfying than "(STAB) Oh BTW he was actually Rhaegar's son."

Which doesn't mean he'll make it through the NEXT book alive, of course.

MEANWHILE, there's the question of Ramsay's letter.  The most interesting thing about it, of course, is trying to determine what's true and what he's lying about.  The mention of Mance indicates that he's at least partially telling the truth -- we don't know whether he's really killed Stannis or not, though.  I'm leaning "no"; that IS the kinda thing Martin would do, just killing off one of the kings in exposition (in fact, he already has -- Balon Greyjoy), but I don't feel like Stannis's story is over yet.  Could be wrong, though.

There's also the possibility that Ramsay didn't write it at all -- but it sure sounds like his voice, particularly the bit at the end about "I want my Reek".  If it wasn't written by him, it was written by somebody who'd been spying on him pretty closely -- Mance, maybe with an assist from Tom O'Sevens.  Certainly if Melisandre wants Jon to do something rash, get himself stabbed, and put himself at her mercy, then this did the trick, and Tom is in Winterfell on Catelyn's orders, and she wasn't fond of Jon BEFORE she turned into a horrible undead monster.

But my money's still on Ramsay sending the letter himself.  Beyond simple cruelty, he has a motive for going after Jon: Jon is a potential challenger for Winterfell, and Ramsay is even more vulnerable now that his ostensible-Stark wife has fled.

Robb (not knowing Bran and Rickon were still alive -- which Ramsay, of course, DOES know) named Jon as his heir.  Roose Bolton knew that, and so would Ramsay.

But to the best of my recollection, the subject never comes up in Jon's conversations with Stannis; it's Stannis, as King, offering to raise Jon up as a Stark and the legitimate heir to Winterfell; I don't believe Robb's letter is ever mentioned.  And seeing as it's pretty pertinent to the subject at hand, this suggests to me that word never got to Jon or Stannis.

Mean-fucking-while, I think it's pretty clear that Littlefinger has designs on Winterfell, too.  His motivations up to this point have largely centered around unrequited love for Catelyn and taking every possible opportunity to say "Fuck you" to Ned.  He's the one responsible for the Jeyne-as-Arya ruse, so of course he knows Ramsay's claim is false, and here he is enjoying a thoroughly creepy father/suitor relationship with the ACTUAL heir apparent to Winterfell.  (I assume that Littlefinger knows Robb named Jon as his successor but does not know that Bran and Rickon are alive -- meaning he's one more person who benefits from Jon getting a knife in the gut.)

But it's gotta be bigger than just Winterfell.  Littlefinger's endgame is not clear, but he's the one who set this whole fucking thing in motion, by convincing Lysa to kill Jon Arryn AND send her sister the letter that convinced an otherwise-reluctant Ned to accept Robert's request that he become Hand.  And then put the Starks at war with the Lannisters by sending an assassin after Bran.

Every single thing that's happened north of Dorne and south of the Wall has happened because Littlefinger set it in motion.  Whatever he's up to, it has to be bigger than just ruling Winterfell, and more subtle than vying for the Iron Throne.

The other key player in the Game is, of course, Varys.  He and Littlefinger are opposite sides of a coin -- both completely amoral, but Littlefinger is motivated by self-interest and Varys is motivated by the Greater Good.  He knows the horror of what's coming better than anyone, and he believes a united Westeros with a Targaryen on the Iron Throne is the only way to stop it -- but he'll do whatever the hell it takes in the meantime.

The ending of Dance is quite interesting as it represents a major change in his temporary allegiances.  He's gone from trying to talk Tyrion out of killing Tywin, to re-enacting that exact murder on Kevan.

But I suspect that he was less than sincere in trying to talk Tyrion out of killing Tywin.  He'd been chipping away at the Lannisters' power for at least half a book by then, having helped clinch the case against Tyrion.  Obviously he wants Tyrion out of the way but not dead -- he sent him off to act as counsel to Aegon (and, even though things have gone awry, I'm sure he would be perfectly happy if Tyrion wound up advising Daenerys instead).

And I suspect that Varys was, if not actually COMPLICIT in Joffrey's assassination, certainly supportive of it.  (It probably bears examining the occasions when he and Littlefinger HAVE acted in common interest -- Ned's removal as Hand, Joffrey's ascension to the throne and subsequent assassination at the hands of the Tyrells, and the framing of Tyrion for it.)

And then of course there's the question of just what the fuck the Song of Ice and Fire IS, anyway.

The nice thing about Ice and Fire is that they can be used as a metaphor for pretty much goddamn anything.  The Starks and the Targaryens (oh hey, Jon is both!), the North and the South, the old ways and the new, even Varys and Littlefinger or the Brothers Clegane if you wanted to stretch it a bit.

But I think Melisandre's got it right: the Song of Ice and Fire refers specifically to the battle between the supernatural force she worships and the super natural force that's bringing ice monsters down on everybody.  And neither one seems particularly goddamn pretty.  The choice between Ice Zombies and Shadow Monsters isn't exactly an appealing one, and it's easy to sympathize with Varys's "absolutely any goddamn thing it takes to stop them both" view.

Of course, it doesn't seem like either the Ice or Fire side is exactly uniform.  Thoros of Myr wielded the same power as Melisandre does but seemed altogether less sinister (while Catelyn, on the other hand, has gotten quite a lot nastier, starting with the whole murdering-a-handicapped-guy business prior to her death and resurrection), and of course Coldhands seems to be a "good" White Walker.

I suspect we're going to see Melisandre at odds with Bran, even though they both have the same goal -- one more Game of Thrones preventing factions from coming together for the common good, except this one played for religion rather than a crown.  (Which is rather like what's happening in King's Landing now, with the Spanish Inquisition taking charge.)

I'm also hoping Martin continues to keep the actual presence or absence of any actual gods a mystery.  I was legitimately disappointed by the reveal that the Heart Trees are actually a four-dimensional communications network.

And one more stray thought: I don't think the Hound's really dead.  We've only got one dude's word for it, and there's already one Clegane who's managed to cheat death.  And c'mon, we all wanna see the Hound be the one who finally takes down the Mountain.  (There would be a certain poetic justice to Aegon doing it, but that's pretty much the very definition of an uneven fight.  These are not the kind of books where a scrawny teenager takes out a nigh-unkillable sociopathic giant just because it makes the audience feel good.)

So!  That's my very long Song of Ice and Fire post.  I hope to start a discussion with it!  What say you?

Media / Mega Ran
« on: June 02, 2012, 09:54:11 AM »
Like concept albums by English teachers with NES-themed rapper names?  Of course you do.

Language Arts vol 1, by Mega Ran; set your price, minimum $1 for the entire album.  (MP3 or FLAC, "for audiophiles and nerds".)

Also there's a Flash game.

Hat tip to Chris Sims for bringing Mega Ran to my attention.

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